Ideas have the potential to energise, enrich and even change our lives.
The unlimited treasure of the human imagination has the capacity to transform lives, to create new possibilities for working, living and playing. When we actively engage in producing ideas we begin to awaken within us thoughts from our unconscious. These thoughts may come to us in fragments, brief flashes of inspiration or in whole images that provide an almost perfect or complete blueprint for the way forward.
Sometimes the ideas and insights that come to us may seem like separate pieces of a puzzle. We try to hold the idea in our short-term memory thinking that we will be able to remember it the next day. When tomorrow comes we have another idea or flash of inspiration but cannot for the life of us remember our brilliant idea from the previous day. When we record our ideas out of habit, regularly as they occur, we are able to begin to store the pieces of the puzzle so that we can refer to them later.
Creativity involves forming new and novel connections between seemingly unrelated and even random pieces of information and images. In fact, some idea generating techniques involve combining random words, listing attributes and then considering how these relate to your problem. Michael Michalko in “Cracking Creativity” explains that to get new ideas you need to create new sets of patterns in your mind.
By recording our ideas, we may land up with random pieces of a puzzle that suddenly fit together in an unexpected way. This new “pattern” could be a breakthrough idea that has the potential to transform our personal life, business or the lives of those who depend on us as leaders, parents, entrepreneurs.
When we begin to take idea generation seriously it is as if our unconscious mind begins to work with us and starts to provide us with a rich source of thoughts and mental images. Dreams seem to occur out of nowhere, often don’t make any sense, but give us fresh raw material that can lead to new insights. Ideas are sparked in conversation, observation, relaxation.
Ideas may be coaxed from your mind using the techniques for producing ideas such as freewriting, mind maps, the 20-Idea Method and any other personal brainstorming technique that works well with your temperament and creative mood. However, sometimes with little or no preparation, an idea might be the result of a happy accident.
Ideas might pop at any time whether in the middle of the night, while driving your car, going out jogging or cycling, in the shower, or during the day while you’re working on your desktop, laptop or smart phone.
We need to take our inspiration and insights seriously. By recording our ideas and thoughts soon after they occur we will take that purposeful step that affirms and validates our creative imagination. But it does much more. Recording our ideas enables us to refer to them later should we wish to build on our ideas and begin to develop them into practical plans, prototypes and start-up ventures.
If you want to capture your ideas, you can use recording tools that work best for you. These include a notebook, cellphone, tablet, laptop Digital voice recorder or even 3 x 5 cards (record cards). Use whatever you find cheap and easy to catch your ideas on the run wherever and whenever they occur. Finding a system that works best for you is an important step as you begin to use your creative imagination to produce ideas for new products and services.
After spending time jotting down ideas, creating visual maps or brainstorming you leave your desk at home or at work and ideas may suddenly flood into your conscious mind without warning. That’s why tools to capture your ideas are so important. You need something to quickly jot down your idea, or, if you are more predominantly a visual person, draw whatever images come to mind.